Making offers on multiple properties?

Asked by Tp, San Jose, CA Fri Mar 7, 2008

I am interested in 3-4 properties, which are a mixed of foreclosed, REO's, and one regular sale. But I will only purchase one, if any one of the offer is accepted. Instead of waiting for weeks or months to get a reply from the sellers, what can I do to speed up the process. Can I make offer to all and accept the one that comes back first? what are the consequences if all or some of the offers are accepted and I will only purchase one.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Michael Robe…, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Fri Mar 7, 2008
Hi Tp, I would not hesitate to write a number of offers. You may get a response from all of them. If you don't acknowledge the offer(s) acceptance by the seller you have no choose which one. I would agree with Denise in that , if you have your heart set on the "one" make a more determined effort with that particular property. I call making multiple offers littering and I encourage my buyers to do it whenever they have the fortitude! Good Luck to you!

2 votes
Rhonda Shiel…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Sat Jan 10, 2009
I am blown away by some of these answers. "Unethical", "slimy", etc., to place multiple offers? You must be kidding! In the current climate, the banks and (some agents) are yanking us buyers around by the (you know what), and it is ridiculous, not to mention unethical, and oft times slimy. Placing multiple offers is what many have been reduced to. Getting your heart set on one particular property, just to be dissapointed, time and time again gets really old, really fast. I say , may the best house win. There is no contract until an offer is accepted (if and when), and even then, you have 17 days to withdraw, if you choose. There is NOTHING wrong with placing multiple hopes that one of them pans out...otherwise, it could take many months. Rest assured, I speak from experience.
1 vote
Lisa Huse, , Los Gatos, CA
Tue Mar 11, 2008
Yes, I have found that in the situation of making offers on short sales, I have encouraged my buyers to keep shopping while the process is going on due to the fact that only a small percentage actually ever close and you could be missing out on a true opportunity. In the situation with REO properties you get an answer fairly quickly (usually within the week) so there is not so much the need to do so.
1 vote
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sat Mar 8, 2008
I know the rules in California are a little akimbo to the rules in the rest of the country... but I believe, even in California... acceptance and delivery are part of a "completed" contract.

So you may put out offers on multiple properties. (personally, I do not recommend it... most clients do not have the fortitude for it)... When one of them becomes a deal that you like... accept that one. Immediately withdraw any other outstanding offers (if you don't choose to own more than one) and withdraw them by phone and in writing. Make sure you get acknowledgment of the withdrawal from the listing agent.

If, for some reason, you don't manage to get withdrawal to one of the offers in time, you are allowed to simply "refuse delivery". Without delivery, the offer cannot be complete. And yes, it can be as simple as the agent saying to the listing agent standing in front of them with a signed and initialled contract, "I'm sorry... we tried to withdraw the offer... so we're refusing delivery".

Again, I don't recommend this method. It wreaks havoc with sellers, agents and often buyers. But it is legal and legitimate... it just leaves a bit of a slime trail.
1 vote
That's an interesting position knowing that when the tables are turned & the sellers are in control, they reply to multiple buyers. Would you explain why it would leave a slime trail vs. balancing out the odds for a buyer in a sellers market..?
Flag Sat Sep 28, 2013
Andy, Home Buyer,
Sat Mar 8, 2008
The market is upside down. Tradition is out the window. Banks/Agents are taking months to respond dependant on the ownership of the property. ie foreclosure/short sale, etc. Make multiple offers. Protect yourself contractually. Buy a nice home. It is a time that you may be able to finally be able to purchase. Be careful and get inspections!

God bless
1 vote
Pam Winterba…, Agent, Danville, VA
Fri Mar 7, 2008
I would strongly recommend against multiple offers. As Deborah pointed out you could end up with several accepted offers and then you have liability.

I would consider starting with the one that has an actual seller and then move to a bank owned/REO property.

Short sales would be last on my list. Good luck.
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Mar 7, 2008
You have two issues to consider. 1) Potential legal liablity for perfromance on a contract. or 2) Moral and ethical concern of the sincerity and integrity of the offer.

The liability for performance on a binding contract depends upon the language of the contract. It is possible to construct offers that will not bind you legally simply for making an offer. Be aware of what you are signing before making mulitple offers.

The concern about making mulitple offers when you are not capable of making mulitple purchases beocmes a subject of debate on the integrity of the offer.
1 vote
Propheus, Home Buyer, Concord, CA
Sat Jan 16, 2010
Sorry to resurect a dead post but I think it is worth commenting on. We are currently in the process of making offers on multiple short sale properties. The banks in this area have been taking 1-6 months to respond to offers because the prices have appeared to have hit rock bottom. While I can understand the banks position, it is simple nonsense to suggest that making one offer at a time is an ethical consideration. It is unethical to misrepresent your position and your intentions, it is not unethical to expect a timely response to an offer. You can bet that banks are taking as long as they are because they are waiting for better opportunities (included increased market price, judgements agains the original seller etc). Your realtor's responsibility is to represent you and it is unethical for them to discourage you from acting in your own best interests, their job is to help protect you. That being said, read between the lines on your offer, if you are representing that by signing this offer that you have a deal then you are breaching contract by not purchasing the property when they sign it. Your realtor should understand this.

I would be very interested to hear how it turned out?
0 votes
Vlad, Home Buyer, Walnut Creek, CA
Fri Jul 24, 2009
I don't see why you can not structure a contract that automatically revokes all remaining offers upon acceptance of one (note that a counteroffer is not acceptance, but in fact a rejection of your initial offer). I think it is a good way of pressuring sellers and making the playing field more open and competitive.
0 votes
Gio Turscima…, , Florida
Tue Feb 24, 2009
Do not listen to a realtor. Consult an attorney. If you can you should put as many offers out there as possible on short sale properties but do it with an attorney's advise as to how to cover yourself. Again, don't listen to the realtors. Most are amateurs and are a big part of the reason the market is in the mess it is.
0 votes
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Sun Jan 11, 2009
Oh my! Does your agent know that many bank owned properties do NOT refund you the deposit? I just went through with a deal where listing broker thought good faith deposit was refundable but the Bank was firm on keeping the deposit. The buyers accepted the home offered and are quite happy with what they bought.

As stated you could ended up with multiple offers accepted if you offer makes sense. Also why are you dealing with Banks that take weeks to get back to you? Is your agent skilled or trained on these purchases? (e.g. Does he have proven experience doing BPOs or does he know the practice at all?)

Buying properties are not the same as applying jobs to multiple companies. Work at first place for 1 month and accept the 2nd company for more money. It is a long term commitment.

Assuming you are interested in Evergreen 95135, of 8 properties sold since Jan 2008 except 1 all were SOLD WAY OVER ASKING PRICE. You make a best offer and wait for a response.
Good valued properties still receive multiple offers in 95135 or anywhere so your agent and you need to come up with a good strategy. Unlike owners who often put sentimental value, banks treat homes like cars. They will lower price or auction it off. Most San Jose homes on the market last fall were gone in 2-3 months.

To answer your other question in speeding up the process. Are you ready cash/loan/inspections/estimates?
If you have done your home work there is no reason you can not move into your properties in 30 days.
0 votes
Sean, Home Buyer, Denver, Colorodo
Thu Jun 12, 2008
Tp, I'm a buyer getting ready to make a bid on multiple homes as well. Our agent will make sure that we are protected from being committed to any one offer. I suspect any good agent will do this for you. I plan to start low on 3 homes and gradually increase until the first one bites. Its a reverse auction of sorts, and I think appropriate in this Market. From my perspective I'm buying a home that is likely to lose value over the next year or two, so I'm 'forward' pricing if you will. The real estate industry does favor the sellers, heck thats where the commission usually comes from so go figure. Good luck !
0 votes
Tp, Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Sat Mar 8, 2008
Thank you for all for the responses to my question. It seems to me the regardless of market conditions, the whole process of buying and selling a house favors the seller, not the buyer. Of all the answers to my question, only one "home buyer" would go for multiple offers, while all the real-estate pros are against it. A few years back, when it was a seller market, I was outbid for a property, and no body was complaining about the sincerity of the seller seriously selling at the "asking" price, or seller obligation/liability when the seller agent received my offer to buy the property above the asking price. It would help if somebody can provide a real life example to my question on a buyer multiple-offers, and the outcome. I am off to house hunting and will take all of your comments into consideration.

0 votes
Michael Robe…, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Fri Mar 7, 2008
Tp, Simply be sure you understand the terms by which you make your offer. I should have clarified which puchase contract you may need to condsider as best. The California Association of Realtors (CAR Formed) leaves little ambiguity about confirmation of contract and your responsibilities therein. Obviously, you should clarify your intentions with you Real Estate Professional who will guide you with enthusiasm!

0 votes
Denise Stuart, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri Mar 7, 2008
I know it's hard to play the waiting game, but like you say what if all the offers got accepted???
I would shoot for the one that would suit your needs best.
I do see how this idea would come about. Let me know how it goes?
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more